bə-lō'nē mō'gəls(n.pl.) 1. A group of drinkers with a shredding problem. 2. The combination of snow, booze, and metal.


The Seen and Tim Show (Boloney Blasts UT: The Sequel)

Whoa!  Would have thought that not having a job would have enabled me to update the blog a whole lot more.  And look at me, I even missed the TWO YEAR anniversary of the Boloney Blog.  What has caused this delay in updates?  Constant shredding of course.  The last 14 days have seen great riding at Sugarbush, a powder day at Blue Mountain, PA, and then a mega Shreduary tour all through New England.  Updates and run downs for all that will come in good time (I'll be on planes and bored a lot), but first I have exciting news.

I've gotten a piece up at SkiTheEast.net - and couldn't be more psyched - and have finished the accompanying edit.  Let's call this piece a condensed version of the three updates I sent while I was in Utah in January.  Hope you enjoy the video and story!  You can get both by clicking the full report here or at the headline.

I was at Jackson Hole, Wyoming last year.  A truly awe-inspiring mountain in the middle of nowhere.  Growing up, and learning the trade on the East Coast, any time I go out West, my jaw drops taking in the sights and steeps.  Starting on "mountains" with verticals measured in the hundreds, a place like Jackson Hole can be as good as it gets.

It was a random week in early March and I made it down a line through the Rendezvous Bowl - their gnarly top bowl - and I was pulling up into a brief lift line to do it all again.  One of my buddies had a Long Trail sweatshirt on and a local struck up a conversation with him about the 
brewery and skiing.  When my friend was asked where the Long Trail was, he said Vermont, and almost as a knee-jerk reaction followed that with "You know, Ski The East, man."  The local, while interested in the brewery, scoffed and said something like, "Ski the East?  What for?"  The conversation came to a quick conclusion.

For the last couple years, I've broken up my days skiing in New York and Vermont by going out West for a week or a weekend here and there in search of their mythic "guaranteed powder."  Well, with my luck, I haven't seen much more with my airfare than my Subaru up in VT.  But, still, I love it.  Any time I can get on snow I'm happy, and the views and runs you can have out there are instant memories.  But, most of the time, they seem to be between dumpings and have "sub-par" conditions when I show up.

Before my most recent trip over the Mississippi, I had been stalking the snow forecast sites for weeks in hopes that a mega dumping would hit before I got there.  One or two did, but not within a few weeks of my arrival.  I said to a friend that I didn't really care too much because a trip is a trip, and I'm not at the office.  

Up early in SLC and on the bus to Snowbird, resort staff complained to one another about how many days they hadn't skied because of the "wretched" conditions and all the "hardpack."  Even the optimist in me grew concerned.

What appeared at first to be cloudy skies, immediately turned into one of the most intensely sunny and beautiful days on a mountain I've ever had.  At the summit, things looked as they should.  Snow as far as the eye could see and long empty runs.  This was a Saturday, yet no one was here and we looked to have the 3,000 acres to ourselves.  Dropping into the deserted back bowl - the Mineral Basin - our edges slid and fought for grip, which they got after a second or two of coaxing.  Turn after turn, the edges became more sure and smiles got wider.  This was packed powder, not ice.  Sure, a P-Tex party might have to be held after a week of this because of sporadic rocks, but for a "snowless" few weeks, the runs were crisp and edgable.  Where was the hardpack and wretched conditions that the locals were complaining about?

The next day we hit another spot, this time in the Big Cottonwood Canyon.  
Solitude, as the name suggested, was empty.  On a holiday Sunday, I can just imagine the lift lines at some of the largest resorts in New England.  Here though, emptiness.  It must be that the snow is too hard, the cover too thin, the trails too slick.  They know something we don't.  But, we hadn't been here before so it would still be worth it.  After taking a lift up to the mid-station, we cut over to a ridge that was plastered with more "thin cover" and "unmarked obstacles" signs than I could count, and I was sure this had to be a bad idea.  But we were committed over the ridge, and two turns into the trees, powder sprayed up.  Not deep by any means, but two-and-a-half weeks without snow and still kicking up powder?  I don't even know how that's possible.  

Run after run through in-bounds terrain - dipping in and out of the woods - and exploring all different regions in this playground, we were continuously rewarded with what seemed perfect snow and awesome skiing.  A slight dip off the main trails through the trees yielded countless untouched lines - at points bogging us down by the abundance of snow.  It only took a few minutes of work and traversing yielded ideal conditions.

At lunch I heard a woman say it was, "the iciest conditions I've ever skiied."

Back on the plane, a day later, that jackass from Jackson's voice popped into my head: "Ski the East?  What for?"  And a year later it really became clear to me:  Because when you're in the East, any day on snow is a good day, and if you work for it you can find whatever you want.  The years riding on true hardpack.  Dealing with surprise rain in January.  Grinding down sheets of ice from the Catskills to the Green Mountains.  Watching weather models fail to deliver, week after week.  Thinking two inches is a powder day.  It's the patience during the bad days and the appreciation when the good days come.  All these lessons make me the rider I am, and these lessons made those "sub-par" days in Utah feel epic.

While a state full of skiers moaned that Ullr hadn't been dumping snow on them, me and my buddy from the East, were on empty mountains, cutting through the trees and finding pristine powder.  To me, it's pretty clear, "What for?" 

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